Real Salt Lake Showcasing Improvement Under Mastroeni Despite Ongoing Ochoa Mystery

May 18, 2022, 12:02 PM
Photo courtesy: Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake....
Photo courtesy: Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake.

SALT LAKE CITY – The start to the 2022 campaign for Real Salt Lake has not been perfect, far from it in fact, but progress has been made as manager Pablo Mastroeni continues his efforts to develop the club culture and identity.

Without question, Real Salt Lake has endured far more positive moments than negative throughout the opening 12 matches of the 2022 season. Currently, the club finds itself in the fifth position in the western conference, tied on points with fourth-placed LA Galaxy, despite having the cheapest payroll in the league.

Gutsy road performances have headlined the start for Real Salt Lake. The return of Anderson Julio and Jefferson Savarino has also added optimism to the fiery fanbase. New ownership has invested in the gameday atmosphere and experience and Rio Tinto Stadium has thrived posting five consecutive sellouts to begin 2022.

Injuries and a small stretch of poor performances have also contributed to the start of the season, however, Real Salt Lake has proven that the club is stable enough to overcome such dilemmas.

The David Ochoa Mystery

Interestingly, the current situation regarding David Ochoa suggests that the club is in complete control and that the leadership instilled is operating efficiently. Little is known regarding Ochoa’s current situation. What we do know is that he is healthy and available for selection but is failing to make the gameday roster due to a “coaches decision,” according to a recent Twitter comment made by the club.

Ochoa injured himself in the final preseason game and was sidelined for multiple weeks. Veteran goalkeeper Zac MacMath filled the void and performed admirably during Ochoa’s recovery. MacMath impressed so much that Mastroeni was forced to continue to play him, stating that the goalkeeper position is not one that can be changed every week.

Ochoa was then called into the Mexican National Team camp where he was photographed training with the team and enjoying himself.

Ochoa’s only appearance for Real Salt Lake in 2022 came when he started and played all 90 minutes in the 1-0 U.S. Open third-round loss to Northern Colorado Hailstorm on April 20.

However, Ochoa has not made the bench in the previous two Real Salt Lake games. His last bench appearance came against the LA Galaxy where he failed to make an appearance.

Mastroeni is opting to sit the young prodigy, it remains unknown as to why.

Assuming that the reasoning behind Ochoa’s absences are not personal and are in fact disciplinary, the club is showcasing improvement regarding club culture and expectation. No matter how talented or important a player may be to the team, every player has an obligation and understanding that they must uphold to play for Mastroeni and Real Salt Lake.

The ongoing situation regarding Ochoa is a good example of where the club is at and the value which is placed on team culture and accountability. Frequently, Mastroeni has expressed his opinion on the importance of the team culture and how the best teams in Major League Soccer are always unified regardless of the adversity that inevitably will present itself.

Next Match

Real Salt Lake will travel to Montreal this upcoming Sunday, May 22, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m.

The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

  • Real Salt Lake Scoreboard

  • Real Salt Lake Team Leaders

  • Real Salt Lake Standings

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Real Salt Lake Showcasing Improvement Under Mastroeni Despite Ongoing Ochoa Mystery